Sunday, February 6, 2011

Not Lost

I've been thinking so much of my friend whose baby, Brenna, died just before Christmas. This morning in the shower it struck me how unusual it is that we say someone has "lost" their baby. We always say it in hushed tones, "It's so awful, she lost her baby."

Somehow, that's such a soft way of saying it - for us. For those of us who didn't "lose" our baby...we say this word because it is so much less stark than saying "Her baby died."

But the reality is stark.

There is starkness in an empty nursery that once seemed so warm and glowing with expectation. There's the car seat that never was taken from the box in the garage. The carefully folded up pink and lavender gift bags from the shower a few weeks before. The milk that came in so painfully the day after she was born, that hurts as warm compresses are applied rather than being relieved by a searching, snuffling newborn. The recovery from nine months of growing and changing to accommodate that little creature for whom you'd eagerly made room within the safety of your own body. The returning to "normal" after birth without anything being normal anymore.

I think of my friend who has retreated to cope and heal from birth, but who must wonder if this is a hurt that will really ever heal. Who, in the time between the birth and the funeral, had to return to the hospital to hold her baby because she couldn't bear the thought of her being alone or cold. I wish for the right words that might bring some measure of relief or comfort, and feel inadequate to the task.

I ache for her loss. Especially because her baby isn't lost; my friend knows exactly where Brenna is. She just can't reach her. And I can't think of anything more stark than a mother who can't reach her child.

I may not have anything else I can give that will help a mother in such distress, but maybe it will at least matter that I get it that this isn't something she just needs time to "get over." And why do we require that someone get over the death of a child? Should we really ask that of someone? What does getting over a child entail? Forgetting? Not noticing the empty spaces that child was meant to fill?

My friend will likely never get over Brenna nor do I expect she wants to; she'll just find a way to keep living. And she will need to know that those of us in her life will always remember that she has two children: one precious, bright little guy who is witty and endearing, and a sweet little girl that we didn't get the chance to know.

I'm so sorry, my sweet friend. Take your time.

Love from the farm,


  1. Teri, I'm so glad you were able to put into words such a deep understanding of how your friend feels. My daughter Victoria is probably good friends with Brenna and I have been fortunate to connect with her mother. You are a wonderful friend, which is exactly what she needs right now so I am glad that she has you.

  2. Hi, I am an Angel Mommy from DailyStrenth.
    This is beautiful. You are such a great friend. =]

  3. This is so beautiful....full of understanding that baby loss Mom's rarely get to this degree from someone who has never had a baby die. My son Jacob was stillborn 8 months and one week ago. I don't even know you, but I am so touched by what you wrote. Brenna's Mom is lucky to have you as a friend.

  4. My son was stillborn, on april 25 2007. I was 6 months along. I am amazed by your words... Your friend is so lucky to have you!

  5. Ladies, I'm truly humbled that my words have some meaning for you. I'm glad Corrine shared this with your group and I wish you each peace and comfort. I'm so sorry you're each dealing with a pain no mother should. Please take care, Teri

  6. I'm reading some older posts; this is incredibly poignant. And, I agree that this is a loss that a person cannot be expected to "get over." After the loss of a child, people want to say, "Time heals all wounds." Well, it doesn't. It losses such as these, I've learned that Time helps you cope better, but the wound is always there.

    It seems that you are very full of compassion because you have thought through things that are hard truths. Not talking about them doesn't make them go away. I do believe that people around us, even if we aren't aware, that are truly feeling our pain are the ones who help us carry the burden of our loss. I'm a Bible gal and this is what it tells us to share each other's burden. To deeply consider her many areas of loss is a thoughtful way of sharing and acknowledging her burden, even if you don't tell her...the compassion is present and I believe it softens the world.